General Organic Chemistry I (with Virtual Laboratory)

CHEM 281/3.0

Chemist hands managing substance


An introduction to the basic principles of organic chemistry with emphasis on bonding, stereochemistry, reaction intermediates and reaction mechanisms, and structure-reactivity correlations. Intended for students in biological and life sciences. Students in chemistry or biochemistry programs should not enrol in this course.

Learning Outcomes

Textbook sections covered (Organic Chemistry, Solomons and Fryhle, 11th ed.)

A. What is an Organic Molecule?
1.1-1.8Lewis Structures (review)
1.17Structural Formulas
1.9-1.15Molecular Geometry: Quantum Mechanical Model (review)
2.1-2.2Hydrocarbons ("the skeleton")
2.3-2.4Polar and Non-Polar Compounds
2.5-2.12Functional Groups ("the organs") 
2.13-2.15Physical Properties and Intermolecular Forces
B. Organic Reactions: General Principles
3.1Organic Reaction Mechanisms
3.2-3.15Acid-Base Reactions
C. Stereochemistry I: Conformational Analysis
4.1-4.2, 4.7-4.9Conformational Analysis of Alkanes
4.10-4.15Conformational Analysis of Cycloalkanes
D. Stereochemistry II: Chirality
5.2-5.6Chirality and Enantiomers
5.7, 7.2Nomenclature: R/S and E/Z systems
5.8-5.9Optical Activity
5.11-5.14More than One Stereocenter: Enantiomers and Diastereomers
5.15-5.18More and Chirality: Separation of Enantiomers
E. How to Make Organic Molecules? Nucleophilic Substitution and Elimination Reactions
6.1-6.4Nucleophilic Substitution Reactions
6.5-6.8The Mechanism of SN2 Reactions
6.9-6.12The Mechanism of SN1 Reactions
6.13SN1 vs. SN2
6.14, 7.10-7.12Functional Group Transformations via Substitution
E. How to Make Organic Molecules? Nucleophilic Substitution and Elimination Reactions (continued)
6.15-6.17Elimination Reactions: E1 & E2
6.18-6.19Substitution vs. Elimination
7.3-7.8Making Alkenes via Elimination Reactions
7.9Making Alkynes via Elimination Reactions
11.14SN1 and SN2 Reactions with Epoxides
F. Addition to Alkenes and Alkynes; Alcohols and Ethers
7.13-7.14Addition to Alkenes: Hydrogenation
8.1-8.6Addition to Alkenes: Markonikov's Rule
8.7-8.11Hydroboration-Oxidation: Anti-Markovnikov syn Hydration
8.12-8.14, 8.18-8.19Electrophilic Addition of Halogens to Alkenes and Alkynes
8.16-8.18, 8.20, 11.13Oxidation of Alkenes and Alkynes, Alkene Epoxidation
11.4-11.12Alcohols and Ethers: Reactivity and Synthesis


Summer (May–June) 2023
Course Dates
Exam Dates (if applicable)
Delivery Mode


20% - WileyPLUS 
20% - Virtual Labs
20% - Midterm Exam 
40% - Proctored Final Exam

Students require a 50% overall to pass the course totalled from all course components and must attempt all assessments of significant course weighting.

**Evaluation Subject to Change **

Live Sessions

This course has optional live sessions (e.g. webinars, synchronous activities).

Final Examination (Students must pass the exam to pass the course) 

Students must write their exam on the day and time scheduled by the University. The start time may vary slightly depending on the off-campus exam centre. Do not schedule vacations, appointments, etc., during the exam period.

Exam Preparation

A trial midterm exam with answers will be posted after Week 3 along with solutions so students can monitor their progress. The exams will not be marked but there will be online tutorials devoted to them. The online mastery assignments in WileyPLUS will also allow students to identify their strong and weak areas as the course progresses.

Proctored Exams

If a student is enrolled in ONLY online courses (section 700), they may choose either of the following options to write the exam:

  • Write the final exam online: you will write in onQ with Examity proctoring. A $100 online exam fee will be charged to your SOLUS account.  
  • Write the final exam in-person: you will write on Queen’s campus in Kingston. You will not be charged an extra fee to write on campus. 

If a student is enrolled in ANY in-person courses (section 001, 002, etc), you MUST write all your final exams in-person on Queen’s campus, including for an online course. You may not choose to write your exams online. 

Location and Timing of Final Exams

Once the exam schedule has been finalized the exam date will be posted on your SOLUS account. The exam dates for each Term are listed in the Academic Calendar. Student exam schedules for the Fall Term are posted via SOLUS immediately prior to the Thanksgiving holiday; for the Winter Term they are posted on the Friday before Reading Week, and for the Summer Term they are individually noted on the Arts and Science Online syllabi. Students should delay finalizing any travel plans until after the examination schedule has been posted. Exams will not be moved or deferred to accommodate employment, travel/holiday plans or flight reservations. 

Textbook and Materials

ASO reserves the right to make changes to the required material list as received by the instructor before the course starts. Please refer to the Campus Bookstore website at to obtain the most up-to-date list of required materials for this course before purchasing them.

Textbook Package


  • Organic Chemistry, Solomons and Fryhle, 12th ed. (Wiley)
  • Study Guide and Solutions Manual
  • Molecular Models
  • WileyPLUS online code to access digital textbook (may be purchased as part of textbook package or separately).

The following materials are available in the Queen's onQ online course site:


  • An electronic virtual lab guide will be provided

Course Guide

The Course Guide contains the overall directions and lecture notes needed to complete the course. It is available online in the onQ virtual learning environment. Beginning the first day of term, students registered in the course will be able to access course materials in a format suitable for online reading or printing.

Recommended Materials

  • Organic Laboratory Techniques, Fessenden, Fessenden and Feist, 3rd ed. (Brooks/Cole)
  • Organic Chemistry I as a Second Language: Translating the Basic Concepts, David R. Klein.
    • Wiley E-Text
      • Organic Chemistry I As a Second Language: First Semester Topics, 3rd Edition 
        ISBN : 978-1-118-20377-4, 400 pages, August 2011, ©2012, CDN $31.00   BUY
    • Paperback
      • Organic Chemistry I As a Second Language: First Semester Topics, 3rd Edition
        ISBN : 978-1-118-01040-2, 400 pages, June 2011, ©2012, CDN $55.95   BUY

Time Commitment

Students are advised to allow at least 16.5 hours per week (108 hours total) to complete all components of the course (online assignments, virtual labs, online tutorials, reading, and practice problems). This is the minimum suggested time.

Course notes and readings6.5 hours/week (approx 2.2 units/week @ 3 hours/unit
WileyPLUS, assignments and other activities6.5 hours/week (approx 2.2 units/week @ 3 hours/unit)
Virtual Tutorials3 hours/week for each of the 6 weekly tutorials
Virtual Labs2 hours/week (4 labs @ 3 hours/lab over 6 weeks)
Total:16.5-18 hours/week


"This is the best course I've taken online, even though it has been the most challenging. The reasons is the amount of attention given and assistance provided. Interaction makes for a great learning environment. It's difficult to have this level of interaction with an online course, but Dr. Carran and his TAs are incredible at providing a positive learning environment."
- Course evaluation, CHEM 281: General Organic Chemistry I (2014)


Additional Information

NOTE: Molecular model set $25.